When we joined the group, we saw it as a great opportunity for our son. He would meet friends, do something he loved, and grow in a variety of ways. We had visions of laughter and good memories, long-time friendships, and family bonding through supporting his adventure. We had prayed, and we had faith that this was of God, so we jumped in with both feet expecting the work of our hands to be blessed.
...Except it didn't work...
Not the way we thought it would, not the way we had in mind.
In fact, it has not really been what we thought it would be at all. The group lacks the order we think it should have. The people are not...as...easy to get along with as we expected. The leader seems to be struggling. I could go on. Believe me, we have a laundry list of things that are not to our liking, and if we had known what this was going to be like, we would not have joined.
...Except we had prayed...
...We all were sure God wanted us to participate...
...And God knew exactly what it was going to be...
In Proverbs 16:9 we are told man plans his course, but God determines the steps. In other words, we have the general idea, but God has the specifics. We see a destination, and God knows exactly how to get there.
For us, we wanted our son to grow, to develop character, to learn to work on a team. So did God. He just had different steps to getting there, steps I would not have chosen. Maybe that is why He didn't share that part.
However, now we are in the middle of it all, and in view of our plans and goals, we are pretty disillusioned. We are not seeing the blessings and prosperity we expected. To be quite blunt, we are miserable, confused, and ready to bail.
But above the clatter of my grumbling, I hear a soft voice, a voice tender with love. "How do you think the leader feels?" And in a second I am transported to the many times I have had a vision to build something bigger than me, to bless others, to offer opportunity for others' growth, only to find the road harder than I expected and support lacking. Again voices of fair-weather supporters hoping to capitalize on the success of the vision ring in my ears. Words filled with grumbling, fault-finding, and discouragement...ones that sound too much like mine as of late.
I am still, and my grumbling is silenced. He whispers on.
"How will these young people learn to be a team if no one teaches them? How will they survive with no one to speak life? How will MY son grow character if he never faces a mountain? Great leaders are not made in the quiet places of life but in face of obstacles. I have called him by name, 'One who overcomes all obstacles.' I have called him for such a time as this. He can be a great leader because he has parents with great vision and great faith. Did you not have faith I called you to this? Faith for great things. Faith for growth. Faith for steps of destiny?"
I nod silently...humbly...
Faith that we have something of value to give...that God can use us despite our lack and need to meet others' needs by showing Himself through us.
Faith that in leading us in our destinies He is speaking into others' destinies as well.
Faith that the greatest blessing is to be used by an amazing God to do amazing things in everyday life.
His voice grows even quieter.
"All that matters is faith expressing itself through love.*"
Love for difficult people.
Love for a leader who is trying and has a good heart and a big vision.
Love for God who has chosen us to be His ambassador in this situation.
Love--the act of seeing a situation, not as a means of getting what we want or lack, but as a chance to give what we have...a chance to reveal Him...a chance to see ourselves as He sees us...purposed, equipped, overcomers, contributors...a chosen piece of the solution.
Grumblings silenced, I am in awe.
In awe of a God who lets me think such small thoughts so He can accomplish such great things.
In awe of love so great that it uses us even when we are unlovely.
In awe of a God who sees such large potential in a young boy.
In awe that He lets this self-focused broken vessel with such a tiny self-absorbed comfort zone be the mother of greatness in the making...only realizing in flashes that greatness is already made each time we step aside and let the Lord do what He desires. Body size is consumed in the powerful act of simple obedience.
Yes, I am in awe.
And I take this awe...with encouraged faith and refocused love...look at this little boy with destiny impacting power and say, "This is so much bigger than we realized. YOU are so much bigger than you realized," and pray for him to hold onto that identity, that Truth...and pray I do, too.
*scripture from Galatians 5:6
Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009